The University of the South has long been known for its natural beauty. Generations of students and visitors have sat in the shade of a tree in the Quad, strolled through Manigault Park, and enjoyed the springtime splendor of Abbo’s Alley. Now the diversity of Sewanee’s trees has been documented and the campus recognized by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council as a certified arboretum.
During the application and certification process, more than 120 different species of trees on campus were identified and labeled. The size of this collection qualified the university as a “Level 4” arboretum, the state’s most rigorous category. Sewanee residents and visitors can now find these trees (along with about 30 shrubs) labeled with both their botanical and common names. The trees represent many species native to Tennessee as well as trees from around the world. Some have been on campus since the Civil War, others have been added recently.
The majority of the tree specimens are grouped in three areas—the Quad and central campus, Manigault Park, and Abbo’s Alley—though others can be found elsewhere on campus. The Sewanee campus is the largest arboretum by area in Tennessee.
A kiosk with a map of the tree locations has been installed near the corner of University and Georgia avenues, next to Convocation Hall. People are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour of any or all of the arboretum sections; look for the black labels mounted in the ground next to the trees. Guided tours will be available in the future.